In the previous episode, we had witnessed Bhagawan Rama defeating Ravana and killing him once and for all. This marks the end of the Rama-Ravana battle and with this, “Dharma” is re-established by Bhagawan Rama in this world. Now comes the important pointer as to how Mother Sita was once again accepted by Bhagawan Rama, and in this regard, we’ve witnessed how Mother Sita had to pass the “Agni-Pariksha” to prove her chastity to Bhagawan Rama in front of the entire public. Now this incident can be viewed in multiple ways – One, as a testimony through which Bhagawan Rama is proving to the entire world that His wife is extremely pure, even though she had to reside in Ravana’s Lanka for ten months. The other way of looking at this incident is slightly on the negative side, which many of us might think twice before accepting – Did Bhagawan Rama exhibit “Male chauvinism” in demanding Mother Sita to prove her chastity? Isn’t this an insult to Mother Sita and in fact, the entire womanhood? Why did Bhagawan Rama go for this, even though He knows the chastity of Mother Sita? These are the questions which people ask while going through this incident and let us be honest with this here.
I’m highlighting upon this point specifically here because, these were the kinds of tortures that Mother Sita had to undergo during her “Vana-Vaasam” period, which, Draupati did not have to undergo during her “Vana-Vaasam” period with Yudishtra and Co.! Sage Markandeya highlights this point specifically to Yudishtra here, to prove the point that Draupati did not have to undergo such painful things unlike how Mother Sita had to! Even though Mother Sita knows herself that she is an epitome of purity, she had to accept Bhagawan Rama’s instruction to go through the test in front of everyone. Even later on, after Bhagawan Rama returns back to Ayodhya and after His coronation, Mother Sita had to be once again sent to the forest, being “abandoned” by Bhagawan Rama completely, at a time when she was pregnant! This is mentioned clearly in the “Uttara Kaanda” of the Valmiki Ramayana. Just because a dhobi in the Ayodhya kingdom made an ill comment about Mother Sita’s chastity, even though she had passed the “Agni Pariksha” to prove herself earlier, Bhagawan Rama still ended up abandoning her completely! Now we might again raise a question as to how fair this could be on an innocent and a pure woman, isn’t it?
Thus, overall as a conclusion to the “Rama-Upaakhyana Parva”, Sage Maarkandeya highlights all these points to Yudishtra to prove that Mother Sita had to undergo enormous suffering for no fault of hers! Just because she was abducted by Ravana and there was nobody to protect her at that point in time, does it mean that Mother Sita’s chastity should be time and again doubted and proved? Hence, this incident itself shows how much Mother Sita had to endure during this time period and Draupati’s suffering is nothing when compared to this!
So for today, let us conclude the “Rama-Upaakhyana Parva” on this note, and in the next episode we shall make a move-on with the next “Parva” and witness what happened next in the Mahabharata! Stay tuned! 🙂